Wednesday, 28 October 2020

couch gag

Including familiar locations like Moe’s Tavern and the Springfield nuclear power plant sector 7-G, a group of interior designers have given some of the Simpsons’ sets a clever makeover in the style of Wes Anderson (see also). Acknowledging how these suite of rooms have looked the same for the past three decades, the team behind these redesigns are hoping to inspire others to think about refreshing their own haunts.

putt putt to the pizza hut

We rather enjoyed the brand-recognition and the now expanded font specimen associated with the franchise Pizza Hut—which until recently was restricted to the seven letters under that red roof, in this brief appreciation from Print Magazine. Since the first restaurant opened in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas, their logo and corporate image has gone through quite a few permutations and experiments (see also here and here) that reflected the aesthetic of the times but the classic, iconic hut was used from 1967 until 1999—only to be reprised last year.


Illustrator and filmmaker especially beloved for the hundreds of shorts he created or produced for Sesame Street beginning in 1970—a Yakety, Yakety Yak for example, Al Jarnow’s signature techniques of stop-motion and time-lapse have an indelible aesthetic that even comes across in this three minutes of meditation and reflection at the seashore—via Pasa Bon! Learn more about the artist, his exhibits and beachcombing at the artist’s home page.

coal in your stocking

Though apparently tabled or scrapped, there was bizarrely, negotiated and budgeted out to the tune of a quarter-billion dollars, a stimulus plan concocted by the undersecretary of the US department of Health and Human Services to save Christmas by inoculating mall Santas (and their entourage of elves and consort Clauses) with untrialled, experimental vaccines, enabling kids to have the experience of sitting on Kris Kringle’s lap and having their photograph taken. Jesus wept. Not only are Santa’s helpers risking their health by taking a preventative therapy that may not be effective and possibly detrimental to their health, they also risk becoming full-on disease vectors, bio-weapons after chatting with scores of asymptomatic carriers per day in the run-up to the holiday season, which is far from universally celebrated. I think Santa would rather be a model citizen and encourage social-distancing, practise good hygiene and avoid unnecessary risks, including forgoing milk and cookies from strangers. This addle-brained proposal is likely to be cancelled but one wonders how close it was to being pushed forward and what other horrors that the Trump administration might try to sell as a Christmas miracle.

ฮทฮผฮญฯฮฑ ฯ„ฮฟฯ… ฯŒฯ‡ฮน

Though the response of the Greek prime minister to the Italian ambassador regarding Mussolini’s ultimatum to allow the Axis armies to occupy strategic points in the Hellenic lands delivered on this day in 1940 was a bit more bellicose and francophone—“Alors, c’est la guerre!”—than the popular account that the prime minister answered with a simple and laconic No—ฯŒฯ‡ฮน/ohi, it was the latter that resounded in the streets and shouted first by members of the resistance then by all. The refusal was met by Italian troops stationed at the Albanian border invading Greek territory, beginning the Balkan campaign of World War II. This act of defiance, rejection of fascism is commemorated annually in Greece, Cyprus and the diaspora as the “Anniversary of the No!”

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

007 q2

In anticipation of the latest iteration of the James Bond franchise (originally slated to be in cinemas soon but now postponed until April 2021), Leica (previously) is offering a luxury, limited edition of its high-end, state-of-the-art Q2 model digital compact. The lens cap evokes the iconic opening title arrangement.
The Q refers to the sequential series designation that the manufacturer follows and not the Quartermaster character of the research and development division of Her Majesty’s Secret Service despite having all the whistles and bells. Though a fictionalization, the use of one letter pseudonyms for senior leadership was started by the intelligence branch’s first director Captain Sir Mansfield George Smith-Cumming—whom for the sake of expedience signed off with a C of green ink now by convention for “Chief” for the present office-holder.


Collaborators in Berlin and Munich have teamed up to produce a smart safety helmet for cyclists that links to one’s phone and delivers audio content via bone conducting speakers that are less intrusive and help ensure that the rider is also attuned to their surroundings.

Proximity sensors monitor the area immediately behind and give haptic cues if there’s something approaching from behind or the sides. It has directional lights and can understand simple voice commands to interact with one’s smart phone and an electric drive is actuated to adjust to an optimal fit once donned. Called ESUB tracks, the outer surface is a photovoltaic cell powering the helmet. More—including a video demonstration, at designboom at the link above.

household botanics

Born this day in 1744 (†1819) and enjoying the patronage of Queen Charlotte, Mary Moser was to become one of the most celebrated women painters of her time, famous for her portraiture and her depictions of flowers especially. Her initiative for artists to receive professional recognition led to the formation of the Royal Academy (previously) in 1868 after an earlier attempt championed by William Hogarth failed to come to fruition. Of the thirty-six founding members, only two were female—the other being Angelika Kauffmann who also took an active role in the new society.
To celebrate fellow member Johan Joseph Zoffany painted a group portrait of the academicians (1772) studying male nudes presumably for a future project, and current social mores restricted from engaging in such activity—both posing and viewing—and to circumvent this prohibition, Zoffany (known for this style of painting called the “conversation piece,” Konversationsstรผck) added framed pictures of Moser and Kauffmann on the wall.